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The CEO - Redemption Award winner

by Kevin Lewis at 31 July 2021, 2:36 AM

THE CEO is an American Metal band formed over a decade ago in Georgia. Most of the members are listed as starting out in cover bands and working to create a sound of their own. THE CEO released their debut album on June 25, 2021 via Rat Pak Records. "Redemption" is a powerhouse of a record with noticeable influences from all over the Metal map.

THE CEO web page cites influences from the NWOBHM, power and groove metal as well as alternative rock/metal. Also heard is Nu-Metal. Please don’t tell me this is a surprise to you. Vince Hornsby is their bassist, so SEVENDUST is represented. All of this works well together. You can tell there is a lot of experience here, not to mention even more talent. This is well recorded and produced album.

From the start, you get a gritty riff with “Twin Flames.” The opening is delicious. The subdued vocals add an interesting tone. The rhythm is killer. The drummer has talent for days, using slower ride on the high hat in some areas and double bass kicks in others. The bass does everything from track the bass drum to act as another guitar by following the rhythm guitars pattern. That ability to alternate is something Vince is known for and he is as good at that now as he has ever been.

The next track is “Behind These Eyes,” a complete banger that uses some keyboard tones underneath the main riff. Again, this is a complex song with cool tunings and multiple rhythms that set the chorus and verses apart. The vocal intonations are on point and really add a lot of depth to the sound and feel of the song.

Redemption” was released early on as a single and is an excellent choice. Like the first two songs on the record, this one also kicks serious ass. Mack Mullins voice is smooth and consistent. There are some gritty vocals that hit at times, but his clean tones are just standout in their quality. Gotta say, his grit a little reminiscent of Lajon from SEVENDUST, which makes me very happy. I love the way the vocals play out all over this record.

Black Hearts” is almost a power ballad. This gives us a taste of their lighter side and shows the band is really well rounded. The feel of the song is that even people who aren’t as pure at heart can still get theirs broken. Even the unlovable can feel lonely. This is one of my top songs from the record. It just has a feel and tone that I love.

Another early favorite, mostly due to the crunchy riff, is “Alive.” That beat is killer. The shift into the chorus is so smooth. The gear shifts are flawless. The guitar tones under the riff really accents the whole song. This whole album has a maturity you don’t expect from a debut album. That song has a double dose of that and really knocks it out of the park.

Jumping down to the closing track, “Alone And Dead,” there is another lighter song, though this one is definitely not a ballad. The guitars are tunes a little higher and don’t blow you away as much, but the song doesn’t need that. The tuning is perfect for the feel of the overall song. The solo is somewhat shredding, but does not overpower the tone or tempo. It’s a great closer to a really good album.

I am truly impressed with THE CEO. Their debut is spectacular. This is band that cut their teeth in other groups and then came together at the right time with the right personnel and right attitude. This is a record to hear. It needs to be heard over and over. You cannot pick up all the nuance in a single listen. Put this on repeat and just let it wash over you for a few days (or weeks).

The amount of varied influence this band has is all exhibited at times. The trade off leads of NWOBHM, the tight musicianship of Power Metal, the tunings of Nu-Metal and the lyrical content of Alternative and Glam Metal are all present at times. The mix of those is incredible. No song hits a single genre, instead they hit multiple segments at every turn. This album was crafted with love and that is what the fans will hear.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  10
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

1. Twin Flame
2. Behind These Eyes
3. Redemption
4. Black Hearts
5. Dirty Tragic
6. The Storm
7. Alive
8. Beginning & The End
9. Bourbon Straight
10. Work of Heart
11. Casting Shadows
12. Alone and Dead
Mack Mullins – Vocals
Vince Hornsby – Bass
Joseph Herman – Drums
Chase Brown – Guitar
Beau Anderson – Guitar
Record Label: Rat Pak Records


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Edited 03 February 2023

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